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FEATHER PLUCKING

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by new chick mom, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. new chick mom

    new chick mom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 27, 2013
    We have one hen that is getting all her feathers plucked out of her back just above tail and up half her back. they have picked them clean out of her skin and continue to do so. we have others that have many of their rear feathers under tail and down plucked out. We got a rooster a couple weeks ago and does not seem be helping much. what can we do to stop this before we end up with a flock of featherless hens???
     
  2. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Lack of B-12, protein, not enough space, excess noise or other stress related situations, a sick bird can all cause feather plucking. Find out who the culprit is and separate it from the rest of the flock. Or you can start by adding a good quality vitamin-mineral powder to the water, and keep them on a good 16% or more layer feed. Some folks mix half gamebird pellets with layer pellets to boost protein levels. Anti pick topicals like Hot-pick, or vicks vapor rub put on areas affected will repel the picking. Avoid feeding scratch and extra treats for awhile. People who continually feed vegetables see this problem more often. If they have access to grassy range areas, that is good for them. If they don't have access to grassy range, baby kale is a good treat due it's high mineral and vitamin content.

    Also, if you don't have a good ratio of hens to a rooster, feather loss along the back is normal from the rubbing of the rooster's keel bone whenever he mounts his hens. It is always a good idea to have at least 6-8 hens per rooster from my experience over the years.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Look those birds over for mites and lice. How are they doing?
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. new chick mom

    new chick mom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 27, 2013
    We are trying the vicks vapo rub today to see if that works we haven't given them any scratch today and will see if the pecking stops. We checjed for mites etc and see none. It is mostly one bird they seem to picking on. If the vicjs does not work we will bring her in for a coh pke dsys and get her back area healing ehike we figure it out.. will keep you posted, and appreciate all of your suggestions
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I see that you joined just this year, and as the above poster mentioned, space can be an issue. What was enough space when the chicks were smaller, may very well not be enough space as the hens have grown.
    I am not sure if this is a problem, as you did not mention size or age of your flock.

    Sometimes removing even one bird, will greatly relax your flock, and that really is the best number of birds for your set up. There are guidelines, but they are just that.

    Also pinless peepers are often recommended here, but I have never tried them.

    Mrs K
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Colorado Rockies
    You're welcome to read through my thread on feather picking.https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/697052/i-think-i-found-a-miracle-cure-for-feather-picking Every possible cause and cure has been thoroughly explored.

    My EE Flo is the main character of the thread, and for three years has driven me to near madness trying to cure her of her serial feather picking. She would have been culled by now if she was anyone else's hen. But she's got me completely under the spell of her considerable charm and intelligence.

    Early on I suspected her brain was simply wired wrong, so strong was her drive to shave feathers. Then I started doing things to address a possible nutritional deficiency, and she suddenly gained weight and actually grew some more at age two. She's had many remissions and then always relapsed.

    She's currently been in a long remission after being fed fermented feed. I'm not ready to declare it a miracle cure, but I'm close. If you're interested, Beekissed has a thread on FF on the "Feeding and Watering your Flock" forum.https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/645057/fermented-feeds-anyone-using-them
     

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